Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Parc Slip Nature Reserve, Fountain Road, Gondwanaland; A guest blog from Rudi Bright

Hi, my name is Rudi (Blog), I am 10 years old and I am a member of the ‘Friends of Parc Slip’ conservation group. Once a month we help out doing some work around the reserve. On Saturday 22nd March we were sowing wildflower seed mix on the bare earth bunds at the new scrapes. It was very muddy and I nearly lost my new wellies a couple of times.

Rudi stuck in the mud!
One of the times I got stuck in the mud I looked down and saw a stone with funny markings on it, I knew it was a fossil but wasn't sure what type so I took it home to identify.

It turned out to be a Lepidodendron, a part of the stem of a lycopod which is a giant clubmoss that grew to over 30m high (that’s even higher than the new elevatedhide!). The diamond shaped marks on the fossil are leaf scars.  As one of the tallest trees it would have formed the tree canopy.

But what was this doing at Parc Slip?

Well, this plant was around a long long time ago during a period of time known as the Upper Carboniferous age. These plants and others like them are responsible for the great accumulations of coal that Wales is well known for. But way back then the land at Parc Slip was not in Wales as we know it but was part of a giant landmass known as Gondwanaland which was covered with forests and swamps.

Rudi with the fossil
As the life in these forests and swamps died the sea washed sediment over it and the material was compressed to form peat. This happened over and over again and built up different layers of sediment which are known as cyclothems. As the weight of the material above built up the pressure eventually turned the peat into coal.

So next time you are wondering around Parc Slip just remember, the signs of nature are really all around you, even buried deep in the ground.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the information, Rudi. I found a few of these at Llanilid former opencast and was wondering what they were.

    4 April 2014 14:45